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Luna Park, early Pittsburgh Amusement ParkLuna Park

Luna Park opened in 1905 on the corner of Craig Street and Center Avenue. The park was constructed and owned by Frederick Ingersoll who was from the Pittsburgh area. Ingersoll built the first chain of amusement parks that were known as “Luna Parks”. The Pittsburgh location was the first in the chain out of nearly 50 others.

The park operated from 1905 to 1909 and featured roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, shoot-the-chutes, a dance hall, picnic pavilions, a concert shell, carousels, bumper cars and more. One of the more odd attractions was the baby incubator exhibit, a common practice at that time. The baby incubator exhibit was a sideshow attraction that allowed visitors to witness the growth and development of premature babies in shiny steel incubators. The practice of putting them in amusement parks helped bring attention to premature babies and raised money for the technology. Luna Park was just one of many parks in the United States to feature the exhibit during the early 1900’s.

Ingersoll was struggling to keep up with the expenses of maintaining the parks and first filed for bankruptcy in 1908. Luna Park in Pittsburgh closed the following year. He filed for bankruptcy again in 1911 and eventually committed suicide in 1927. He was inducted into the International Association of Amusement Parks (IAAPA) Hall of Fame in 1992 for his contributions to the amusement park industry.

Article by Meg O’Malley 

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